Bolton man jailed over fire bomb threats

Simon Buckley
Image caption Simon Buckley pleaded guilty to witness intimidation

A man who went on the run after admitting intimidating witnesses to a fatal arson attack has been jailed.

Simon Buckley, 24, of Bolton, threatened to firebomb the homes of witnesses to the fire at Little Holme Walk, Great Lever in June 2008.

He has been jailed for three years and four months at Bolton Crown Court.

He had pleaded guilty to witness intimidation at the court last month but went on the run on two occasions before he was sentenced.

The fire, which was started when a wheelie bin was set alight and pushed against the front door of the house, killed four-year-old Alana Mian and her grandmother Hameeda Begum, 71, in June 2008.

Alana's mother Saima and a firefighter were also seriously injured.

Buckley was due to be sentenced on 18 June but he went on the run before the hearing.

He was arrested and appeared before Bolton magistrates the following morning, where he was granted bail.

Judge Steven Everett described the decision to grant him bail a second time as "utterly inexplicable".

He was re-arrested on Wednesday and brought before Bolton Crown Court.

Det Ch Insp Jeff McMahon, of Greater Manchester Police, said: "Buckley did his best to avoid his day of judgement, but justice has finally caught up with him.

"I am delighted that he has finally been sentenced and that the judge took his attempts to twice cheat justice into account."

Buckley, his girlfriend Tracey Peers-Holland and a 16-year-old boy went to the house of a murder investigation witness in October 2008.

Police said Buckley told the man who lived there: "I'm Simon and when I find out who has been giving statements I will firebomb their houses."

Peers-Holland, 26, of Hawthorn Road, Bolton, also admitted witness intimidation and was sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for two years at an earlier hearing.

A 16-year-old boy, from Bolton was given a nine-month referral order, after admitting affray.

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